Monday, March 26, 2007

“From where does my help come?”

This morning, a little bit after 6:00 am, I had the opportunity to gather with a couple other men at church for prayer. At our church, a group of men meet every Monday morning at this same time, in order to pray with and for each other. I used to regularly meet with them until I changed jobs a little over a year ago. Back then, I worked in the same town as my church, and so I could easily go from prayer straight to work. Now, it’s just not logistically possible. However, since I am on Spring Break this week, I thought I’d rise early and get to church so that I could pray with my brothers in Christ.

As usual, it was a delight to join my brothers in prayer. The amazing thing is here you have men of different cultural backgrounds and life circumstances, with different needs and abilities—yet in Christ we are one and united in prayer. I always leave our times together encouraged, with my problems looming a little less large, and my perception of God increased.

During our time of prayer, one of the guys read from Psalm 121. One verse—verse 2—stood out to me: “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” I find this truth to be such a great comfort. I don’t know about you, but I know I need help. And what greater helper could there be than “the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”

God daily brings along circumstances and events to make me constantly aware of my weaknesses. For instance, I know that, apart from the grace of God, there’s nothing good about me. I mean, I know about other people, but I know me. I can honestly say I’m the worst sinner I know. Then, there are those time when I feel so ignorant. There seems to be no end to things I just don’t know. In fact, the older I get, the less I know. Then, there are those issues and problems that seem virtually insurmountable. I’ve thought about and pondered them until I just can’t analyze them any further. I simply have no answer and no solution; there’s nothing that I can do.

Into these circumstances comes the word of God: “My help comes from the LORD…” What this word says to me is, I can’t handle it, but God can. I don’t know enough, neither am I wise enough, but God is. The downward pull of the world, the flesh and the devil is strong, but I have a helper—“The LORD, who made heaven and earth”—and He is stronger. Why, if God could make heaven and earth, surely He can handle my little problems. If God, in creation, could call forth something out of nothing, then surely, if He but speaks the word, my needs can be met. What a great comfort, what a great assurance, to know “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”

And yet, this truth is even more wonderful than immediately appears, because our help is not a God “up there” somewhere, far removed from us “down here”. The Lord Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

What a tremendous blessing! “Another Helper”—of the same kind as the Lord Jesus (i.e., fully God)—“with you forever.” One who “dwells with you and will be in you.” So, you see, our help is not merely from without, but in the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Helper lives within. What an encouragement!

I see here a connection to Ephesians 3:20: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” [emphasis mine]. God is our Helper, “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.” But, He helps us by working within us by His Spirit—“according to the power at work within us” [emphasis mine]. The Holy Spirit—the “Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9)—supplies what we lack. This is why Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

So, you see, our help does, indeed, come from the Lord—our Lord Jesus Christ, dwelling within the believer in the person of the Holy Spirit. By faith, we draw upon the inner resources of the Spirit of God.

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